February 28, 2023
JAKARTA – Responding to an uproar over the lavish lifestyles of tax officials, Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati has pressed ahead with her move to clamp down on ostentatious displays of wealth among tax office staff.
On Monday, Sri Mulyani ordered the dissolution of a big bikes club called Belasting Rijder, which counts Director General for Taxation Suryo Utomo as its member.
A social media post purportedly showing Suryo riding a big motorbike made the rounds on the internet over the weekend further angering the public, which was already riled up following an assault case involving the son of a Jakarta tax official.
“I want this club dissolved. This hobby and lifestyle, of riding big bikes, can create a negative perception among the public who could grow suspicious over how tax officials get their wealth,” Sri Mulyani said in a statement posted on her Instagram account @smindrawati on Monday.
The senior minister posted the message next to a media clipping showing Suryo smiling and riding a big bike with members of his entourage.
Over the weekend, Sri Mulyani had to fend off a media firestorm following an assault case involving the son of a senior tax official at the Jakarta Office, which led to a revelation that the family of the suspect led a lavish lifestyle.
The tax official in question, Rafael Alun Sembodo, was reported to have accumulated Rp 52 billion (US$3.4 million) throughout his tenure, a figure that many deemed as far too high for an echelon three official at a regional office.
Sri Mulyani has removed Rafael from his position and on Sunday he decided to resign.